MARCH 23, 2015
After pleading guilty to animal cruelty charges, the two men involved last summer’s raccoon mauling at the Boyle County Fair will do their community service time at the local Humane Society’s animal shelter.
Donald Pike, 31, and Brandon McQueary, 31, both entered guilty pleas Wednesday in Boyle District Court to second-degree animal cruelty. Each was sentenced to perform 100 hours of community service at the shelter as part of their plea agreements.
The men were also each sentenced to 180 days in jail probated for 2 years under supervision, fined $250 and will lose their hunting licenses for a year.
“I thought to serve their community service time at the animal shelter would be instructive to these two individuals,” Boyle County Attorney Richard Campbell. “I spoke with (shelter director) Dan Turcea and he was receptive to having them come out.”
According to witnesses, a caged raccoon was released into a pack of hounds primed for the hunt, attacked and nearly killed. The event was staged inside the horse arena at the fairgrounds on a Friday night and was witnessed by dozens of people. Pike and McQueary were determined to the be the main organizers and participants in the incident, Campbell said.
The story drew outrage from animal lovers across the nation and came to the attention of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which kept tabs on the case through its investigation by Danville police and the state Department of Fish and Wildlife and into the court system.
“We’re very familiar with the case,” said PETA spokeswoman Stephanie Bell, who follows animal cruelty cases nationwide.
“It’s clear that local and state officials took the case very seriously — we were thrilled by the indictment,” Bell said. “However, we would have liked to have seen the maximum sentence imposed. Maximum sentencing serves as a deterrent, a lesson and justice for the victim.”
Campbell said the maximum sentence for second-degree animal cruelty is $500 and 12 months in jail.
Neither Pike nor McQueary have a significant criminal history, Campbell said, and both would likely have taken their chances at trial without some incentive to plead guilty.
“You have offer something that gets the cases disposed of,” the prosecutor said.
Turcea, the shelter’s director, was unable for comment Thursday. Another shelter employee, John Hambel, said people assigned to the shelter to perform community service usually clean out areas where dogs and cats are kept, and feed and water the animals.
By Todd Kleffman
The Advocate Messenger